Saina Nehwal stormed into the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championship after zooming past Pui Yin Yip of Hong Kong in the third round of the women’s singles event in London on Thursday.
The world number six Indian didn’t waste any time in getting into the rhythm and was leading 13-5 in the second game when 14th seed Pui Yin retired to bring a premature end to the match.
However, Ajay Jayaram couldn’t cross the pre-quarters hurdle, losing a gruelling three-game match against sixth seed Jin Chen in the men’s singles competition.The Indian lost 21-18 12-21 11-21 to the world number six in a match that lasted more than an hour at the Wembley arena in London, which will also host the London Olympics next year.
Jwala Gutta and V Diju also couldn’t get past the fifth seeded English pair of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen and lost 9-21 15-21 in a 34-minute match.
Saina, who reached the quarterfinals in the 2009 and 2010 edition too, opened up a 2-0 lead and then moved with giant strides of three, seven and nine points to leave Pui Yin helpless.
The second game was no different as Saina moved from 5-1 to 9-3 before the Hong Kong girl could manage just two more points before conceding the match.
“I am happy to make it to the quarters. I am in the best shape this year and hopefully I will play well. In 2009 I was suffering from chicken pox and didn’t get much time to train but this time, I have trained for more than a month,” said Saina, who will take on the winner of the third round match between 12th seed Petya Nedelcheva and third seed Xin Wang of China.
“I was disappointed with the Indonesia final as I was so desperate to win that tournament but I am happy that I am completely fit and in sound health now. There is no pressure and I hope to give my best,” she added.
Jayaram, who had stunned Kenechi Tago in the opener, squandered a first-game lead and could not match up to his Chinese counterpart who sent down as many as 20 net winners compared to eight by the Indian.
In the first game, trailing 0-5, Jayaram narrowed down the gap and caught up with Chen at 9-9 and went neck and neck till 18-all before marching ahead to grab a 1-0 lead.
But Chen didn’t give the Indian any chance in the second game, registering eight straight points from 13-12 to roar back into the contest.
In the decider, Jayaram had opened up a 10-7 lead but the Indian couldn’t make use of it as the Chinese first drew parity before wrapping it up with a straight 10-point burst once again.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa will take on 11th seeds Lok Yan Poon and Ying Suet Tse of Hong Kong in the third round later in the day.